Sustainability and simplicity – Still worthy goals

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Is the world getting crazier, more complex, politically outrageous and therefore less sustainable for all life? Are we living like frogs in a kettle, adapting day by day, oblivious to the changes? Can we turn it around? Can we say “enough!”? Can we willfully decide to use less fossil fuel, saving what’s left for future generations to produce synthetics, medicine, and other virtuous things for the betterment of humanity?

I personally believe simplicity and sustainability are still worthy goals, goals only achieved through the relentless quest for renewed harmony with nature, in our personal lives, in our nation, and ultimately between all nations.

Harmony is a gift frequently unrecognized. It’s a gift more often felt than understood. Where there is harmony there is inner peace.  Harmony is without strife, it is divine synchronization, the way all creation was meant to live. Where there is harmony, there is unity, a state of well-being, an inner feeling of peace and tranquility. It is the garden God created and intended for all humanity and every living thing. It is the way it was meant to be; the way it should be.  It is the kind of environment where all creation thrives, an environment which has been badly damaged by man’s desire for control and self-gain.

Not long ago, Nancy and I were sitting on our front porch, watching the sunset and enjoying a glass a wine produced from our vineyard here at Timber Butte. We had been working hard all day and were reflecting on the accomplishments we had made that day. It was the beginning of the harvest season and everything was at full maturity in the garden, the orchard, and the vineyard. From where we were sitting we could see the barn, the corrals, and poultry pens. All the animals had been fed and the evening was filled with the contented sounds of appetites being satisfied. There was peace in the barnyard and everything was in a state of seeming harmony and so were we. It was profound; we both felt it at the same moment and said so.  The words we spoke came out simultaneously: we looked at each other and simply said, “We made it”.

Nancy and I have been married 48 years but the dreams we shared about the kind of life we wanted to live together started even before we were engaged.  We dreamed of a life of simplicity and sustainability; of living, not off the land, but with it. In those early days we had no idea of how we would get there, but both had the dream of something special and meaningful (how we got there can be found in a book I wrote several years ago called Rooted in Good Soil). The point I’m making here, however, is while sitting on the porch that evening, we came to the realization that our vision had in so many ways become fulfilled; we had made it.

We had made it, but not without intention and years of sacrifice and hard work.  It took fifty years but the process brought us satisfaction and joy, and in the end gifted us with a legacy worthy of passing on.  Not just an inheritance of property and buildings, but of memories and life experience.  We didn’t fulfill our vision alone, but fully engaged our children and grandchildren in the experience every step of the way. Everyone has in some way benefited not simply by getting their hands dirty, but by inheriting the values of a more simple and sustainable life; the desire to live in harmony with nature and with each other.

The earth is rapidly becoming unsustainable for the quality of life God intends for his creation and humanity. The decline of the world’s environmental condition, caused by the short-sighted greed to extract remaining resources for the maintenance of status quo prosperity, is the greatest threat to the sanctity of life; not just for the unborn, not just for human life, but for all life – every plant and animal. The earth is out of sync; harmony is being lost, now forcing rhythms of disunity, political unrest, the acceleration of weather crises, the decline of food security, both in quantity and quality, and the loss of drinkable water.

The hour is getting late on planet Earth and we are in desperate need of a society which has undergone the “transformation of the human mind”; a transformation which only God, in His sovereignty, can provide (Romans 12:1-3). If and when that happens, a new worldview will emerge; a paradigm for authentic change leading to righteous action. These actions will be driven, not by relentless quests for economic gain, but for the welfare of all creation; a creation which is capable of supporting the entire planet.

Humanity needs to receive a compelling common vision; a vision demanding a goal for worldwide sustainability. This vision must be so compelling that it motivates whole societies to sacrifice for this greater cause; a cause to live simpler, consuming less and giving more.

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